130 VERDICT OX INDIA chasing the slippery line of a melody which was as elusive as an eel. It was hot, dusty work, and the Lord Chamberlain did not look as though he approved of it at all. At the end of half an hour, a halt was called in order to study the notes on the manuscript paper. There was silence, excepting for the panting of the musicians, so that it was possible for the first time to get a clear idea of what had been going on. And—accord- ing to the manuscript—what had been going on was sheer chaos ; it was like the gibberings of a lunatic. The rhythms were jumbled in hopeless confusion ; as for the melodic lines, if a blind man had dotted the paper at random the result would have beeix equally enlightening* \\ ith one exception. The Ancient, who was sustaining the chief role, had been roaring away throughout the entire piece; and from the manuscript it appeared that there had been a certain method in his madness. His melodic lines had something of the same shape—it was a very ugly shape, but at least something which could be dignified by the term of 'form.* If we could isolate the Ancient ? Detach him from the throb of the drums and the wail of the Thumbooris, so that he was revealed in all his naked horror? It would be akrming, but it might result in a revelation. The request was made. * Would this gentleman be so very kind as to sing for us again ?' The Ancient's eyes glittered, he opened his mouth in savage anticipation. *Only a few bars/ I interposed hastily. *The opening phrases of the piece which has just finished.* The Chamberlain nodded; the Ancient gulped and began. It was now possible to transcribe the notes with some degree of accuracy. It was a wandering, indeterminate wail in a ragged five-eight time. I held up my hand; the Ancient reluctantly trailed off into silence. 4 Now, if it would not be too much trouble, could he sing that again?* trHie same song ?' * If you please.'